Windhoek – Brave Warriors mentor Ricardo Mannetti is adamant Namibia has a great chance of qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), the continent’s biggest football spectacle.
On Thursday, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) conducted the draw for the 2019 Afcon qualifiers, which saw Namibia being pooled alongside regional rivals Zambia, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau in Group K – with the group’s top finisher earning a place at the finals in Cameroon. Reacting to the draw, Mannetti was quick to highlight
Namibia’s chances of negotiating their way past the qualification phase and hopefully booking a spot in Cameroon in 2019, saying despite the inactivity of football countrywide, the maturity of his Brave Warriors players would come in handy.
“Zambia are still a powerhouse in Africa but looking at our results in the past two years, we have done well as we won more than twice, which was never the case in the past. They used to roll all over us. Huge improvement for us and it gives me hope,” said Mannetti.
On Mozambique, Mannetti says the record reads well for his team against the Mambas and also fancied his charges’ chances against them, saying: “We managed to beat them as well in recent times and of course for the big one, the Cosafa Cup final in 2015 and so we can go in there with great optimism.”
On Guinea-Bissau, the only unknown opponents to Mannetti, the mentor said they will be taken seriously and be treated with the attention they deserve.
“The fact that they are in Gabon this year for Afcon speaks volumes and we have to be ready for them. It will be exciting indeed,” asserted Mannetti.
Mannetti reiterates that Namibia was not ready for 2017 but however remains on the mark for project 2019.
“Players have now many games under their belts but getting enough game time is another crucial aspect. Players like Peter Shalulile and Wangu Gome are some key players for us that have come of age but again game time for them and others partly remains a huge problem – hence I again encourage players to get the game time, be it locally or abroad, so that it gives us depth and strength going forward.”
Namibia’s first 2019 Afcon qualification assignment is scheduled on June 5-13, 2017, when they face Guinea-Bissau before hosting Zambia in March 2018.
Namibia drops one place on Fifa’s latest rankings.
Namibia dropped one place on the International Federation of Football Associations (Fifa)’s latest world rankings released late Thursday. The Brave Warriors dropped from 99th position, which they occupied in December 2016, to 100th position.
After moving 20 places up the rankings (from 118 to 98) at the end of October 2016, the Brave Warriors dropped two places in the last two months because of inactivity.
In Africa, Namibia is now ranked 27th, down by one place from the 26th they occupied a few months ago. Should the Brave Warriors continue to be inactive, they are likely to slip further down the rankings when the next rankings are released.
While other teams will be playing at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, the Brave Warriors will be out of action, with their next game likely to be the 2019 Afcon qualifiers, which will only kick off in June 2017. The Brave Warriors’ last game was in September 2016 when they lost against Senegal in the African Nations Cup qualifiers. Namibia’s all-time highest ranking was 68th in 1998.
– Additional info: NFA/Nampa